• Pseudonym
    1.2k
    Same with Hitler, I will still read Mein Kampf when I have the opportunity,Mr Phil O'Sophy

    I think this is all the anti-heideggarians and anti-petersonians are saying though. The key part of your proposition is "... when I have the opportunity". You have the opportunity right now. You could, right this minute obtain a copy and start reading it, but I suspect you have more important and more interesting things to do.

    No one can read everything that's ever been written, so we need to have some reason to put things in their relative place on our to do list. That reason must, logically, preceded actually reading it. It is simply a logical necessity that we make some judgement about the relative value of a philosophical work prior to reading it.

    So what do we use to make such judgements? I think Nazi sympathy or borderline mysogyny are pretty good starters.
  • frank
    2.7k
    borderline mysogynyPseudonym

    I think that takes out the majority of philosophy.
  • John Doe
    242
    I think that takes out the majority of philosophy.frank

    :up: Just your daily reminder that analytic and continental philosophy are equally 'tainted' since Frege was a proto-fascist and Heidegger was a member of the Nazi party. And it's misogynists all the way down.

    [clap emoji]csalisbury

    Thanks!

    An overwhelming majority of Heideggerians I know consider themselves political progressives - anti-fascists for sure, including a few anarchists.Erik

    I think one question that might be useful to pose: How do you all feel about Carl Schmitt? I consider the left-wing appropriation of Schmitt slightly concerning.
  • Akanthinos
    1k


    I havent claimed anyone should refrain from reading anything. Simply that Heidegger was truly antisemite and that he did write a bit about it.

    As iI have explained in other threads on the same subject, Heidi was fine with Jews when he stood to profit from being close to them, and he was fine with Nazis when he stood to profit from being close to them. He was 100% a creep and someone who I would not have associated myself if I had the chance to. Philosophically, he plundered Husserl without any respect for the aim of the phenomenological project, and imho corrupted philosophy for a good half century afterwards.

    But it is still important to read him, and I would be happy to participate in the reading group. Its been close to a decade since Ive cracked open that book. Its just that some may find annoying how contrarian my opinions will be from the very first sentence. I mean, I dont even agree that the question of Being was forgotten about!
  • Arne
    363
    he was anti-Semitic and it is reflected in some of his writings. And his anti-Semitism is not the only reason to question his work, as your notion of whether the question of Being was ever forgotten attests. In addition, I have my own reasons for believing he played fast and loose with his interpretations of the pre-Socratics for the sole purpose of investing his own views with an historical authority to which they were not entitled. How much of any of that is relevant to Being and Time, I do not know.

    All of that being said, I would have a hard time taking seriously any philosopher who has not read Being and Time, with the exception of those who may be unaware of it. And I am quite confident most serious philosophers have read it.

    I do think the real attraction of Being and Time is that it offers all philosophers alternatives to idealism, realism (materialism?) and the Cartesian subject/object, internal/external views and all the gibberish they produce in attempting to overcome their inherent inconsistencies.

    Based upon your post, I am quite interested in your take upon Being and Time and I suspect it would be a win/win situation for all in the group. I sincerely hope you choose to participate.
  • John Doe
    242
    As iI have explained in other threads on the same subject, Heidi was fine with Jews when he stood to profit from being close to them, and he was fine with Nazis when he stood to profit from being close to them. He was 100% a creep and someone who I would not have associated myself if I had the chance to. Philosophically, he plundered Husserl without any respect for the aim of the phenomenological project, and imho corrupted philosophy for a good half century afterwards.Akanthinos

    Could you explain why you think he corrupted twentieth century philosophy? Otherwise, it's an important point. The guy was a monster, a creep, a pedant, a bore, a misogynist, a hick, an egoist, a narcissist, and a Nazi. My issue with him is how much his work reeks of desperation, it's such a clear power-grab, an attempt to interpret the whole of world history as the apotheosis of Heidegger as prophet. Hence Western civilization is all that matters. Western civilization leads exclusively from Ancient Greece to Unified Modern Germany, German culture is only authentically expressed in the peasantry, Heidegger is the only authentic thinker of the authentic being of the peasants; Western civilization is renewed when Heidegger reads Aristotle; Heidegger alone can understand thinkers better than they understood themselves; only a God can save us now; the 'thinker' can make a work of art so great it's the foundation of a whole way of being.

    My issue with his Nazi phase is, in a broader sense, that it partially reveals the pathetic impotence of Heidegger's own attempts at self-aggrandizement. Heidegger's savior was Bert Dreyfus, who made Heidegger's works remarkable and beautiful through a very systematically selective reading.

    Yet I find the "analytic" Heidegger which we see in Dreyfus, Kelly, Braver, Carman, etc. very exciting and penetrating so I'm pretty torn about the continued value of reading him.

    I have my own reasons for believing he played fast and loose with his interpretations of the pre-Socratics for the sole purpose of investing his own views with an historical authority to which they were not entitled.Arne

    I assume your own reasons are that it's true. When I was an undergraduate I used to think that his wide-ranging knowledge of this history of philosophy was a unique and profound aspect of his work, but as I get older I see it's little more than an attempt to half-read famous works in order to best figure out how to denigrate the author. His four-volume book on Nietzsche is absolutely awful. I can't believe that I fell for his interpretation of Nietzsche as repeated by the Dreyfus-gang and that it consequently took me so long to appreciate Nietzsche's very anti-metaphysical philosophy.

    I'm not sure if this is an esoteric reference for the thread but Robert Brandom does exactly the same thing Heidegger did and reading him as Heidegger's intellectual double provides, I think, an interesting psychological perspective on what Heidegger was up to.
  • Arne
    363
    I have my own reasons for believing he played fast and loose with his interpretations of the pre-Socratics for the sole purpose of investing his own views with an historical authority to which they were not entitled. — Arne
    I assume your own reasons are that it's true.
    John Doe

    How would I know it is true? I suspect it is. But that is the end of it. You overstate Hubert Dreyfus' influence. The continent has been Heideggerian since at least the end of World War II and owes nothing to Professor Dryfus, to whom I owe everything.
  • Arne
    363
    should the human race survive, Nietzsche will be pondered for thousands of years and long after Heidegger has been forgotten. And I love Heidegger.
  • John Doe
    242
    How would I know it is true?Arne

    Three reasons one might conclude that this is true. Firstly, because almost all serious scholars of the various canonical figures whom Heidegger wrote about (Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Husserl) consider his writings to be monstrous distortions, and of little or no relevance to contemporary scholarship. His writings on these figures are, however, hugely important for scholarship on Heidegger. Secondly, because one can read many of the works by all of these figures for one's self and consider it fairly obvious that he distorts their views to fit a narrative about the importance of his own philosophy. Thirdly, he states in his lectures on Aristotle that he has no interest in knowing anything about the lives of the philosophers he writes about and he claims in his book on Kant that he genuinely understands the ideas of historical thinkers better than they understood their themselves.

    (Edited for clarity.)
  • Arne
    363
    dude, that is how you know it is true. That is not how I know it is true. My own suspicions are simply based upon nothing more than my sense that his interpretations seemed rather convenient. I certainly have no reason to doubt you. But all that amounts to is that somebody other than me (you) share my suspicions and for your own reasons, which may be more substantive than mine, but are not mine.
  • John Doe
    242
    You overstate Hubert Dreyfus' influence. The continent has been Heideggerian since at least the end of World War II and owes nothing to Professor Dryfus, to whom I owe everything.Arne

    It was considered quite taboo to admit any interest in Heidegger before Dreyfus came along. The continental figures whom Heidegger influenced either openly repudiated him (e.g. Levinas, Habermas) or stole bits of Heideggerian philosophy while claiming to be influenced by some other figure (e.g. Merleau-Ponty, Foucault). Dreyfus was hugely pivotal in the softening of Heidegger's reputation.

    should the human race survive, Nietzsche will be pondered for thousands of years and long after Heidegger has been forgotten. And I love Heidegger.Arne

    It's an interesting question. I don't know. Over the past couple of years I've turned away from Heidegger to Nietzsche and others but part of my being obnoxiously long-winded in this thread is me second-guessing myself. I'm genuinely worried that I may be missing out by not sticking with Heidegger.

    dude, that is how you know it is true. That is not how I know it is true. My own suspicions are simply based upon nothing more than my sense that his interpretations seemed rather convenient. I certainly have no reason to doubt you. But all that amounts to is that somebody other than me (you) share my suspicions and for your own reasons, which may be more substantive than mine, but are not mine.Arne

    Sorry, mix of my poorly phrasing and misreading you. Reasons 1 & 3 are simple factual reasons you can look up for yourself; Reason 2 is my own interpretation, one which you can agree or disagree with but is open to you to explore.
  • Arne
    363
    It's an interesting question. I don't know. Over the past couple of years I've turned away from Heidegger to Nietzsche and others but part of my being obnoxiously long-winded in this thread is me second-guessing myself. I'm genuinely worried that I may be missing out by not sticking with Heidegger.John Doe

    I do believe for any serious philosopher, Nietzsche is the way to go. And I suspect even Heidegger would agree with you. But the reasons Nietzsche will still be talked about thousands of years from now are the same reasons why he is so misunderstood in our time.

    I recently read the Ear of the Other. It is a transcription of a lecture given by Derrida regarding Nietzsche's notion of "signature." For me, it was mostly incomprehensible. But the one idea I did take away from it was that those authors who sign their work are more quickly forgotten than those authors who insist their readers sign their work. And Nietzsche insists we sign his work. He has written for the ages. And he was just short of 36 years of age when he died.

    And I do not really care as to when it was fashionable to be a Heideggerian. Professor Dreyfus may have made it easier for some to come out of the closet, but they were in the closet long before Professor Dreyfus (to whom I owe everything) left his childhood, Levinas and Derrida included.
  • John Doe
    242
    For me, it was mostly incomprehensible. But the one idea I did take away from it was that those authors who sign their work are more quickly forgotten than those authors who insist their readers sign their work. And Nietzsche insists we sign his work. He has written for the ages. And he was just short of 36 years of age when he died.Arne

    I suspect you mean that he was 44 when he went insane. In any case, I'm not sure what to make of Derrida's thesis, since I think that some figures who that applies to like Kierkegaard get a lot of lip-service without much sincere interest or influence while the most influential figures tend to be 'giants' like Kant and Hegel who have no interest in Derridian style postmodern chicanery. Perhaps he just means "important" philosophers are more influential when they are hard to comprehend? That thesis would go a long way towards explaining his philosophical style...

    And I do not really care as to when it was fashionable to be a Heideggerian. Professor Dreyfus may have made it easier for some to come out of the closet, but they were in the closet long before Professor Dreyfus (to whom I owe everything) left his childhood, Levinas and Derrida included.Arne

    It's a fair criticism but perhaps the difference is that you're more interested in individual philosophers and I am more interested in general intellectual trends. Opening up Heidegger to the academy has afforded us a much deeper and more nuanced view of Heidegger's thought, its implications for subjects like cognitive science, computer science, sociology, etc., which in turn expands his influence. Heidegger's continuing social and academic relevance is, I still think, largely due to Dreyfus, and average souls like you and me can appreciate Heidegger thanks to Dreyfus.
  • Arne
    363
    I suspect you mean that he was 44 when he went insane.John Doe

    Correct. I was researching Thomas Wolfe earlier today and had just short of 36 years of age in my head. They both died way too soon.
  • Arne
    363
    It's a fair criticism but perhaps the difference is that you're more interested in individual philosophers and I am more interested in general intellectual trends. Opening up Heidegger to the academy has afforded us a much deeper and more nuanced view of Heidegger's thought, its implications for subjects like cognitive science, computer science, sociology, etc., which in turn expands his influence. Heidegger's continuing social and academic relevance is, I still think, largely due to Dreyfus, and average souls like you and me can appreciate Heidegger thanks to Dreyfus.John Doe

    Indeed.
  • Corvus
    83
    There's a difference between reading a book and understanding its meaning and doing a ctrl-f for "politics", you know.Akanthinos

    I do try to understand when I read books, otherwise I wouldn't be reading them.

    But as someone already said, you dont have to read every books written by a philosopher. For instance, I like Plato's Theory of knowledge, but I don't like his theories on nations, government and laws. I skip the parts which is not my interest whoever philosopher they are.

    Truncated philosophy is from negative angle. From positve, it is called selective readings.
  • Arne
    363
    you dont have to read every books written by a philosopherCorvus

    Being and Time is one of the most important books in the history of Western Philosophy and Heidegger is unusually difficult to interpret. So if you are going to read Heidegger, you might as well get the most bang for your buck.
  • Arne
    363
    I was attracted to existentialism per se as an undergrad. At the time, it was virtually impossible reading about existentialism without continually coming across the name of Heidegger. Some of the stuff people were saying about his non-Cartesian approach to ontology I found intriguing, but every time I attempted to get through Being and Time, it was over my head. And then one day it was not. I have read it at least thirty times since and have not found a single passage regarding national socialism or mysogyny. And I have never met a single person who wanted to read it for those reasons. And if they did, I would not be hanging with them. So really, what is your point?
  • Pseudonym
    1.2k


    My point is that you had to read it to find out that it had meaning for you and that there were no implications which you found unpleasant. In order to do that, you had to not read something else. So why did you not read the something else? What is it that continually puts you off reading any other book each time you come to read Heidegger again? It can't be because of the relative quality of the writing because you haven't read the other books, so you could not possibly know what meaning they might have for you. You can't read two books at once, so you're forced to choose, so on what grounds do you choose?

    Maybe you trust the opinion of others and read the things they suggest. But that just moves the problem. Why do you trust those people? Maybe because of the things they say and do, but why did you attend to that which is said and done by those people? I don't see any way out of the need to make some kind of initial judgement which precedes reading. If someone is an unrepentant Nazi, that's as good a reason as any. Do you have any better reasons for rejecting particular philosophical writings?
  • Corvus
    83
    Being and Time is one of the most important books in the history of Western Philosophy and Heidegger is unusually difficult to interpret. So if you are going to read Heidegger, you might as well get the most bang for your buck.Arne

    Yes, I agree. I will be reading Being and Time. In fact, I am already reading it.

    But I will not be concerned with Heidegger's Nazi connection or any Political writings. I don't believe Being and Time has anything to do with above.

    I am only interested in his ideas about Being and Time, and it is what I want to focus.

    I don't believe that it will give me truncated philosophy at all as suggested by Akanthinos.
  • Arne
    363
    you presume way too much. I limit myself to ten pages of Being and Time a day. And I do that specifically to ensure I do read other books. As for other books, I put on my list those that I am drawn too for whatever reason. I do not reject books.
    If someone is an unrepentant NaziPseudonym

    By your reasoning, we should reject the engineering philosophy of SS Officer Von Braun. Similarly, if Heidegger were a great mathematician, would you be suggesting we ignore his mathematics?

    I am drawn to exisitentialism in general. I am drawn to existential ontology in particular. You cannot have a meaningful understanding of existential ontology without reading Heidegger. And it would be absurd to deny myself a deeper understanding of existential ontology because Heidegger is a bad human being. I would only be punishing myself. Heidegger is already dead.

    It is one thing for you to choose not to read Being and Time because he was a member of the nazi party. It is quite another to suggests others choose to read Being and Time because he was.
  • Pseudonym
    1.2k
    I do not reject books.Arne

    You cannot read all books, therefore you must reject some books, it's as simple as that. Unless you are choosing at random the set of books you are going to read (out of the set of all books), then you are making some choice about which ones to reject. Unless you go into a bookstore with something akin to some dowsing rods to see which ones you are 'drawn' to to?

    By your reasoning, we should reject the engineering philosophy of SS Officer Von Braun. Similarly, if Heidegger were a great mathematician, would you be suggesting we ignore his mathematics?Arne

    The advantage of engineering is that there are not hundreds of competing options about how to build a bridge with no possible way of deciding which is best. The ones which successfully carry loads with a relatively efficient use of materials are best. Same with mathematics (though less so). We are rarely required to make a choice. I cannot choose to add 2 and 2 in whatever way I'm drawn to. I must add them using one of a strictly limited range of axioms, all of which lead to the answer 4.

    In philosophy there are hundreds (if not thousands) of competing texts, none of which can be demonstrated to be either necessary nor better than any of the others. Choosing one above the other (or even choosing reading one above doing something else entirely) can only be done, therefore, by appealing to other factors. As I say, Nazism is as good as any other reason, for philosophy. It is not as good as any other reason for engineering. Whether their designs successfully carry out their function is the best means of choosing which engineer to read. It is also not a good method for mathematicians. Whether their proofs actually work is the best way to choose which mathematicians to read.

    If I had two engineers whose designs were equally successful, or two mathematicians whose proofs were equally good, I would indeed choose to read the non-Nazi, over the Nazi. Why on earth wouldn't I?
  • Arne
    363
    If you are truly interested in ontology, then I am telling you right here and now that there are no other ontological treatises since Descartes that are as provocative and/or as original as Being and Time. So going forward, the next time you are in the mood for serious ontology, you now have reason to believe that Being and Time is superior in that regard. And it is extremely difficult so do not hesitate to send me a message if you have any questions. I am here to help.
  • Pseudonym
    1.2k


    I appreciate your offer, but I have every Christian in the world assuring me that their book is the one I must read if I truly want to understand what it is to 'be'. The Muslims are convinced it's their book, and the Buddhist's theirs. My analytical colleagues might well tell me not to bother with any of that and hand me a pile of contemporary papers which I simply 'must' read. And then there's actual work, and finally at the bottom of the list is that trashy sci-fi thriller which I hanker for despite my better nature.

    So no, I do not now have good reason to believe that being and time is superior. By all means join the queue, but quite frankly if an understanding of existential ontology isn't even going to dissuade one from condoning racially motivated violence, then I think I'll pass.
  • Arne
    363
    I did not say you must read it and this is not the Christian forum. I essentially said if you were ever seriously interested in ontology, I encourage you to consider Being and Time. It is certainly not for those who dabble. Whether you consider my opinion to be just another opinion is entirely up to you. Have a nice day.
  • clem
    7
    Enriching one's understanding of an aspect of intellectual history seems like one good-enough reason to read BT (Safranski's Heidegger biography is good on this).

    Also, I've always enjoyed Holderlin very much, which is somewhat relevant. But I suppose Holderlin was a bit of a proto-fascist, you could say, or at least perhaps some kind of a German nationalist, circa 1800. I might also mention Georg Trakl and Paul Celan and perhaps even Rilke as somehow relevant. I also cotton some to what little of Junger that's been translated.

    Mostly in this regard, I think of Holderlin and Heidegger and basically all of them simply as romantics. If writing today, they'd probably all be seen as hopelessly naive. But obviously they are historical, rather than current.

    Probably, there's a touch of poison in there somewhere----but that's no big surprise.
  • clem
    7
    Also, once the obvious Hitler stuff is cleared away, nobody cares if we read Heidegger.
  • Arne
    363
    I agree generally. However, to consider Heidegger as hopelessly naïve ignores the reality that Europe is as culturally Heideggerian as America is culturally Rortian. All of European science and social science rests upon the Heideggerian concept of being as being-in-the-world. For the continent, the ontological foundation of being is an issue settled on Heideggerian terms. You can look it up.
  • Arne
    363
    and do you really care whether anybody cares? For anyone serious about the nature of being, ignoring Heidegger amounts to malpractice.
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